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From networking to career consolidation: what are young women from Portuguese Women In Tech looking for?

The fight against gender disparity in the world of technology is one of the main objectives of the Portuguese Women in Tech (PWIT) community. At the end of March, PWIT launched a mentoring program to help young students and professionals in the area find their voice in the noise of the labor market and to have an entrepreneurial and active mentality.

To SAPO TEK, Ins Santos Silva, co-founder of PWIT, explained that the mentoring program was one of the most requested initiatives since the first day. We decided to launch this initiative at the end of last year, we had an incredible response from the community and today we feel that this program is even more relevant, due to the moment we live in, explained the responsible.

Throughout the five-month program, mentors and mentors will have the opportunity to create a close relationship through several sessions of sharing and working together. The PWIT co-founder explained that featured are also group sessions: from webinars on "Unconscious bias and the impact it has on our gender perceptions" to sessions on how to get the most out of LinkedIn, how to work remotely, create websites or collaborate as a team.

The program has 50 mentors, 24 in Lisbon and 26 in Porto, with different backgrounds, motivations and objectives. To learn more about what motivated them to participate, SAPO TEK spoke with Sofia Rufino, Beatriz Macedo and Ana Pinto, three mentors of the PWIT program.

After finishing her studies in the area of ??metallurgical engineering in 2019, Beatriz Macedo started working at a car components factory at Kirchhoff Automotive, in Porto. While doing some online research, Beatriz found the PWIT mentoring program and thought that having extra support for career growth would be a good idea.

What happens sometimes is that the person is unable to achieve what he wants due to the lack of a guide and has to make some mistakes along the way until he finds his place ", Beatriz explained." If I could avoid this phase, taking the advice of whoever has gone through the same, would be great.

Thus, Beatriz decided to apply and after the first month of participation, the mentor feels that the program is being productive. In addition to the workshops and sessions that allow you to align ideas in groups, the participant has the support of mentor Maria Joo Ribeiro, Product Manager at Worten Portugal, to find answers to professional challenges.

"Opening the door" to a promising career

Sofia Rufino is one of the mentors who is still finishing her studies and is currently one of the students of the Energy and Environmental Engineering course at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. The program was referred to him by a friend who works in the area of ??technology and who knows the project co-founded by Ins Santos Silva.

I entered the program without knowing what to expect, but I was very excited, explained the mentor, adding that she knew that the initiative would be an excellent opportunity to learn more from the experience of other women.

Increasing the network, betting on personal development and opening the door to a promising career in the area are the main goals of Sofia and with mentor Guillemette Dejean, co-founder of Chatterbox, who has managed to find the support to prepare the future after the academic path.

The participant made it known that, in addition to the sessions with the mentor, the events for the mentors have been very relevant and unique. There is a very close community that helps each other and has helped me a lot to keep me motivated and focused on this most difficult period of confinement. For Sofia, the experience is being very positive and has even managed to exceed her expectations.

Never too late to "make the leap" and change careers

Although most of the mentors started their careers, whether academic or professional, in the area of ??technology there are some exceptions to the rule and Ana Pinto is one of them. The mentor graduated in Anthropology and started her career as an occupational therapist.

To SAPO TEK, Ana Pinto revealed that she always felt a great interest in the technological world and in understanding the mechanics behind the technologies. When my second daughter was born, I took courage and tried to change my career and that's what happened. After taking a programming course at Academia de Cdigo, Ana took the leap and now works at Natixis, in Porto.

The mentor had been accompanying the PWIT community for some time and, as soon as the program came up, decided to move on. I always wanted to have a mentor, Ana explained, especially in the predominantly male context of technology. We are forced to think about our own concepts about gender and how they relate to careers and it becomes even more necessary to have someone with more experience to be able to help us in some matters.

As a mother of two children, one of her main concerns relates to reconciling a demanding professional career with family life. For Ana, PWIT got it right "in the mouche when choosing mentor Ndia Miranda, IT Service Delivery Lead at Worten Portugal.